Dunkin' Donuts coffee
Dunkin' Donuts coffee - 
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Renita Jablonski: Tomorrow, you can leave your lunch at home. Dunkin' Donuts and McDonald's will both be staging big giveaways. At Dunkin' Donuts, it's free iced coffee. McDonald's will hand out free Southern Style Chicken Sandwiches and Chicken Biscuits. Stacey Vanek-Smith explains why we're awash in freebies.

Stacey Vanek-Smith: Dunkin' Donuts plans to hand out millions of free iced coffees. Might be the perfect thing to wash down the chicken sandwiches McDonald's is giving away. With food costs on the rise and companies cutting back, why all the free stuff? It pays, says Advertising Age's Emily Bryson York.

Emily Bryson York: Because people are low on money, they're not eating out as much and looking to get value where it's available. So, I think these free offers do get them into the stores.

Earlier this year, McDonald's gave away 3 million McSkillet Breakfast Burritos. Same store sales jumped 8 percent. No surprise then that supermarkets are stepping up free samples. Bryson says freebies encourage consumers to try new things, and they also build brand loyalty.

Bryson York: Marketers have found that consumers think sampling is fun. Nobody thinks that a discount or a coupon is fun.

Companies get something free out of the deal, too. Publicity.

I'm Stacey Vanek-Smith for Marketplace.

Follow Stacey Vanek Smith at @svaneksmith